Scientists Build Case that Zipingpu Dam Triggered China’s Devastating Earthquake

Probe International has compiled articles and testimony from scientists who say it is possible that the played a direct role in the devastating earthquake in Sichuan in May 2008. From their introduction:

Since China’s deadly May 12 earthquake, Fan Xiao, China’s chief engineer of the Regional Geology Investigation Team of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, has been a lone voice calling for an investigation into the possibility that the Zipingpu dam reservoir, just a few kilometers from the epicenter, might have induced the earthquake. Now, he is joined by Christian Klose, a geophysical hazards research scientist from Columbia University in New York, who agrees and explains, using geophysical data, how it likely happened.

[…] Representatives from the Chinese Academy of Science, meanwhile, are denying that the Zipingpu dam had anything but good effects on the region. In China’s own Science Times, dam and earthquake safety engineering experts from the Academy dismiss the idea that Zipingpu induced or triggered the devastating earthquake. But, in the absence of independent scientific analysis and a review of the data on seismic activity and reservoir levels, which Chinese authorities are keeping under wraps, it would be imprudent to dismiss the likelihood that China’s deadly earthquake was, indeed, reservoir induced.

See the two related articles from Probe International:
Chinese geologist says Zipingpu dam reservoir may have triggered China’s deadly quake, calls for investigation” by Fan Xiao
Columbia geophysical hazards scientist says evidence shows dam reservoir likely triggered China’s great quake of 2008

See also “an excellent collection of maps, seismic readings, names of dams damaged by the Great Sichuan Quake of 2008, as well as photographs of the dams” from Water India.

All of CDT’s coverage of the earthquake and the recovery effort can be found here.

January 28, 2009 10:07 PM
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Categories: Sci-Tech